I didn’t expect to stay that long, but South Africa sucked me into its charm and intensity. It’s a fascinating country with probably the most diverse pool of human genes. People from all over the world came here, willingly and unwillingly, interbred, often through rape, and found a way to make this part of the world their home. They have 11 official languages. English is one of them, yet spoken with different accents depending on one’s background. South Africa’s amazing natural beauty; from oceans to mountains to wildlife, is paralleled only by its dark cruel history of killing, rape and torture. It’s like an over dramatized version of the human story. No wonder that this intense crucible of the human experience produced 4 Nobel laureates (Nelson Mandela, FW de Klerk, Desmond Tutu & Albert Luthuli) and influenced the early shaping of Gandhi.
“The so called ‘apartheid government’ was very efficient. Services were much better and not much corruption.” Then he apologetically added “Except for apartheid, of course”. This opinion, expressed by a white South African, sums up how most of them feel. Now that All the people of the country are equal, including those who were enslaved and by whose blood, sweat and tears the infrastructure was built, services are flailing and corruption is rampant. The same old story of independence all over the world. Change is never easy, especially following intense oppression. It takes generations and generations to heal the deep wounds of apartheid. The book “Black Beauty” was banned by the apartheid government because it associates the word Black with Beauty! Nelson Mandela is sometimes blamed by Black South Africans that he compromised too much. His philosophy of forgiveness was too bitter of a pill to swallow for some. Healing takes time, a very long time. The USA is still suffering from remnants of slavery which was abolished over a century and a half ago and South Africans expect everything to be perfect in less than 30 years. Step aside USA, the true melting pot of humanity, fueled by gold and diamonds on top of a very strategic geographical location, is South Africa!
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